Don’t Be Afraid to Play Physical Soccer

Girls' soccer can get awfully physical too! - (Photo:

When children select the sport of their choosing, soccer is sometimes seen as the soft option.  Compared to the overly-aggressive game of American football, where players smash into each other in brazen displays of strength, soccer is more about artistry and delicacy, while players who engage in hard tackles and shoving are usually penalized.  But that’s not to say that soccer isn’t a physical sport.  In fact, by the time players reach high school, and their bodies start to fully develop, the game often becomes a test of one’s strength as jockeying and positioning for the ball is crucial to a team’s success.  Therefore, don’t be afraid to get physical in the sport of soccer.

When a player is out-muscled for the ball, the results can usually be devastating for a team.  Usually the most physical players in a soccer game are the central defenders and the strikers.  Because of the importance of both goal scoring and defending, these players are at a constant battle with one another.  For defenders, they must always win or else risk giving up a goal.  Strikers always look to push away a defender and find that open spot to score a goal.  Usually, the stronger and more aggressive player comes away as the victor.

Even smaller players like full backs or wingers must use physicality to push themselves further.  Although their mini-battles occur on the fringes of the field, any breakaway or handy out-muscling can leave them in a great position to send in a cross that could result in a goal.

When a player is physical, they can dominate their opposition.  You may have nifty foot skills, but when a stronger player cleanly blocks you off of the ball, you won’t be seeing much of the ball at all.  A strong and physical player has an easy go in the sport because they can simply push players aside.  Sure, there are fouls that can come along with it, but the referees don’t call everything, and when you are pushed aside, you will lose your balance while the opposition sprints ahead with the ball and an opportunity to make a play.

Therefore, make sure to add a bit of edge to your game.  Be aggressive and don’t shy away from physical confrontations in soccer.  Not only will this enable you to play your game to its full potential, but also you will effectively be able to disrupt the play of your opponents.  The only way you will ever become a great player is if you can keep on your own two feet and withstand the bigger players you compete against.  One wouldn’t necessarily declare Lionel Messi to be a physically gifted human being (he stands tall at 5’7”), but you rarely see him getting pushed off of the ball.  His strength enables his mastery on the ball and allows him to make the incredible plays that the world has grown used to from the Argentinean wizard.

So, if you’re looking for a relaxed and easy game, perhaps you should try baseball.  Soccer is definitely a contact sport, and will test the strength of even the strongest players.  Therefore, be tough and add a physical edge to your skill set!


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